"Never Say Never"
Rainbow Fanclan Legacy Exclusive Interview 2013
You have been recording and/or touring with TANK, Michael Schenker, La Paz and Demon's Eye recently. Is there a band that you see as your main goal these days.
I am very lucky to be able to work with all these guys. Keeps me on my toes and its all great fun. I had hoped to do more work with TANK live but it did not happen. The Demons Eye gigs are always great fun. Schenker is magical and I will do some LA PAZ shows later in the year.
How was it to do a big European tour with Michael Schenker last year?
I thought it was without doubt the most fun I had on the road for quite a while. When one is on the road away from home, traveling and playing live, for me, is a great privilege. Its what, when your 15, you dream of. I never lost that feeling. The idea that you wake up in a different town and people are coming to see the show, to hear me sing (whether or not they are) is one of the finest feelings ever.
Michael has other singers for his tours in the States and Japan. Are you not interested to do these shows or has Michael different ideas for these parts of the world?
Michael seems to like to have different bands for different territories. Whether this will change after the last tour with Wayne ,Herman and Francis remains to be seen. I love being on the road and Schenkers set up on the tour I worked on was pain free. No Bean counters. No hassle. Just 5 rawkers doing what they do best. I hope we can build on the success for the last European Tour.
Just recently Michael Schenker's "Temple Of Rock: Live In Europe" was released as CD, DVD, Blue Ray and a Limited Deluxe Edition. The recordings are mainly a show in Tilburg, The Netherlands. What do you remember of this show?
It was our 13th show in 14 days and our 7th on the bounce. So we were a wee bit burnt. I had forgotten how getting back to the hotel at 1am and getting up at 4 am to travel was so annoying. I mean when do you get breakfast;)) The Ham and Cheese Tour. I donít have Blu Ray. Heard the CD and it sounded good.
But it really is that 2 hours on the stage that keeps the energy up and we just dug down and the audience came with us. The Tilburg venue is a cracking place and with the hotel very close by I did not have to listen to the drum sound-check as I could hear the peace when it was over.
Why was the 013 venue in Tilburg choosen to record the DVD?
I donít know but probably because it has enough space to place cameras without them getting in the way of the crowd or the band.
The Limited Deluxe Edition comes as a package with 2 CDs, 1 Blu-ray & 1 Bonus DVD. The Bonus disc has rehearsals and Doogie's Video Impressions according to the press report. Can you tell us some more about Doogie's Video Impressions?
Well I used to film videos in the 80s for the Social Work and Education dept in Motherwell to get funding for disabled, blind, various other social work projects. I filmed the changing landscape of the local community for the Historical side of the council. So I always had a camera with me.
I have hours and hours of RAINBOW stuff but stopped really when Yngwieís management told me they did not want me recording anything any more. So with Schenker I asked him if it was okay to stick a camera around and he said yes. I never watch the old footage and am too busy to edit the stuff down but one day I will.
You'll be doing this year another tour with Michael Schenker in Europe. What can the fans expect to be different than last year.
That I donít know yet as we are still looking at the options for the live set. There is a vast catalogue of songs to choose from, from his career. I have a few suggestions that I would like included that I feel I could do justice to but its still a while off and we are still kicking ideas around. But Michael is playing so well and the band are just so hot. I hope I can keep up;)) No there wont be any RAINBOW songs.
Michael already announced a new album to be released this year. Will you be the singer on it?
Thatís the plan. We have written 12 songs so far. Its a heavier album than TOR was. I think he liked what I wrote and sang on ďBefore the Devil Knows You're DeadĒ. He wrote the music for that song on a train. I got it and wrote the melody and lyric and had it done and back to him before he got out the shower. So we are working at the moment to see if what we do is worth an album. So far so good.
What can you tell about the TANK DVD "War Machine Live" that was released recently. Why was it recorded in Poland?
The record company Metal Mind Productions is Polish. So they had the infrastructure and gear to make it happen. Again a 4am rise a 7 hour drive and then do a show. But people donít care about that. They just want to see a great show and its our job to pull it all together. I have still to watch it. The band is great and we wrote 2 outstanding albums. I think we do the older songs justice. I am not a punk but found a way to bring more life to the songs. I am happy with what we did.
How do you got in contact with Polish metalband Kruk? Was it on the Poland tour with TANK?
The record company asked if I would sing a song on the album. If I have time its good for the soul to do something out of the comfort zone. I donít have much time now though. Which is how I like it.
Does the touring scheme of Tank and Michael Schenker never clash? And if they do what will be your solution or choice?
No. Clashing never happens really. I did have a long term concert commitment with Demons Eye during the Schenker tour. Michael said I must do it and put the band on hold for 4 days while I traveled did the gig and traveled back to join the tour. I thought that was very cool.
You've been involved in so many bands and albums the last couple of years. How do you keep everything apart?
Good question. Its not keeping it apart.. Its keeping it together. I was writing a song the other day and I thought.. mmmm I have heard this before. It was on the Liesegang White album VSE. But I always seem to have 4 separate setlists running around in my head.
I would love to be settled in just one band but the nature of the beast dictates that that is not how it is for me. The last 2/3 years have been wild. But this is what I do. Its my job. I am a very lucky man to have had such an exciting time over the years. Sure there have been times when one gets heart broken or so pissed off that you have no choice but to say ďthis and no moreĒ. But I would not swop my world. This wild wonderful world I have built.
I never sold a million records but I had great fun trying. Iíve made some great records and have written and sung with amazing people and have lifelong friendships with people I would never have met had it not been for the crazy world of Rock n Roll. I got to sing a show last year as one of only 2 singers. The band was Ian Paice, Don Airey, Neil Murray, Chris Slade, Ken Hensley, Schenker, Kee Marcello. Címon. A wee lad from Motherwell fronting that. MAGIC!
You sang on most of the songs of the "Ambassadors of the Hidden Sun" CD of Chris Melekyan's Mysticity. A very Rainbow-ish record. How did Chris approached you and have you ever met him or did you only record the vocals parts elsewhere?
Chris asked me if I could do a few songs. He seemed very passionate about his work, the music was good so I did it. We have never met and I recorded the vocals here in ďThe DenĒ. It came out well and he was happy.. Job done.
About a year ago La Paz released "Granite" with six old tracks rerecorded and a few new songs. You are now doing a new La Paz album now?
Yes just finished it in the end of January 2013. Its a great sounding album and again we did it because we could. It should be ready for release in May I think. I just did the photo shoot this week and the press stuff as I am not around from mid Feb.
Were you happy with how your solo album "As Yet Untitled" did in reviews & sales figures?
Of course. Well would you expect me to say anything else? Some of it was written a long time ago and some of the other songs never made the final cut. There were 6 songs I wrote with Craig Goldy that we could not do for certain reasons.
So a mate suggested Mick Tucker and thatís how I ended up in TANK. Funny how it goes sometimes eh?. I found out I liked being in a band again. The solo album was great fun to do and the songs and performances are stellar and I may do some shows if I get time. I have 20 or so songs for another but I guess I am going to busy for a while.
Last time we spoke with you you told you had 15 songs ready for the album. What about the rest of the songs? Are there any plans to use them on a possible second solo album in the future?
Ah!! Lesson to self. Read the questions before answering. I have 5 recorded but not mixed and another 20 that I am working through. The record company really want one. At the moment I just donít have a breath to pull it together. 2 TANK albums, 2 La Paz albums, a solo album in the last 18 months or so. Thatís enough. But then add the Tommy Bolin, Mysticity, Kruk, No Bros, Rata Blanca, the list goes on. I am glad to be working with all these different people but I think it may be getting close to over kill. Then there was the rock version of JCS with me as Jesus but sadly the producer/finance guy died. Add in a few commercials, solo gigs BLAH BLAH.
What happened with Cornerstone? Is there any chance one day we might see another new album?
We have 4/5 ideas but really at the moment we are all doing what we do. Its a case of NEVER SAY NEVER but who knows. We did 4 CDs and a live album. That's maybe enough.
You're doing next month again some shows in Japan under the monnicker Voices of Rainbow. Do you think it's elsewhere in the world possible to get such a great package do some live shows or does the name Rainbow only still sells these days in Japan?
I am looking forward to doing the VOR shows. JLT, Graham and myself all get on well. I do BVs for Joe for $5 a song and sit back and watch Graham for free. Its a celebration of a great band and also for me personally a wonderful way to pay my respects to the ďvery best of usĒ Ronnie. I grew up listening to all these guys and to share a stage with 2 of them is a great joy for me. We had such fun the last time that when the promoters suggested we do it again, it would have been silly not to agree. Japan still has a great love for the music that RAINBOW made and the crowds turn up in their thousands. I donít know whether we could take it out anywhere else or not. I donít think any of are against it but we would need to see if any promoters and venues were interested.
The last year Universal Music has released deluxe 2cd editions of a couple of Rainbow albums with interesting bonus material. Do you think we'll ever see such a version of "Stranger In Us All"? If yes, what can we expect as bonus material?
Well the issue has always been with SIUA that its on BMG and they own the rights. I tracked down a few years back the 16 track demos of some of the songs just in case BMG were interested. There are some things I donít have but I have enough to make a re release interesting and with the video footage I have and the live pro- footage from LA in 97 we could get some decent stuff out there but the will is weak on all sides. So like a RAINBOW return I guess its too late. But NEVER SAY NEVER... AGAIN!
© The Rainbow Fanclan Legacy - February 2013